Proposed Annexation Process Continues
The District continues to work on several fronts regarding the proposed annexation of Lost Creek by the City of Austin.
Members of the District’s Annexation Committee have met individually with six of the seven members of Austin’s City Council. We have used these meetings to answer their questions about issues raised at the public hearings and to explain why we believe annexation of Lost Creek at this time is not in the City’s best interests. Specifically, the Committee has shown that the proposed annexation will produce a negative financial impact on the City and emphasized the construction and environmental risks and difficulties associated with the construction of a raw sewage force main underneath Barton Creek and through the endangered species habitat preserve south of Lost Creek. A meeting with the remaining Council Member is scheduled in October.
The City staff notified the District on September 21 that their legal department believes their obligation to extend City wastewater service to Lost Creek before annexation will expire in July, 2007 along with the Revised Agreement that formed the District. The District disagrees with that opinion and will take legal action, if and when appropriate, to ensure that the City honors its contractual obligation. Meanwhile negotiations are being pursued with the City staff on issues related to a Strategic Partnership Agreement that could delay annexation and render the issue of extending City wastewater service moot.
Negotiations on a Final Service Plan will begin on October 17 to document the service levels the City will be required to provide in the event it proceeds with annexation of Lost Creek on December 31, 2008, as currently proposed. According to statute, the service plan must be completed by March 31, 2007 and may be taken to arbitration if the parties are unable to agree. Texas statutes specify that the City must meet existing service levels for water, wastewater, parks and recreation, streets and other public facilities, and must provide service levels equal to those in similar parts of the City for other municipal services.
Finally, the District has engaged lobbyist Todd Baxter, former Lost Creek resident and State Representative for District 48, which includes Lost Creek, to represent the District’s interests in the State Legislature during the upcoming legislative session. Donna Howard, State Representative for District 48, will be attending the October 24, 2006 Board Meeting at Lost Creek Country Club at 6:30 PM to discuss the proposed annexation with the Board and interested residents.
Additional information and updates on annexation can be found in the District’s “Update” Newsletter and by attending Board meetings. Annexation issues and status will be the first item on the agenda for every Board meeting until a final resolution is achieved.